People are generally mistaken about what the first step of farming or agriculture is. We assume that it is the sowing of seeds. But even before the seeds are sown for germination, we must ensure that the soil is ready for farming. This it is the process of soil preparation.
As we discussed, soil preparation is the first step to be followed when we start the agricultural process. It usually entails the loosening up of the top layer of soil i.e. topsoil. Plants absorb water and nutrients from the soil through their roots, hence it is essential to prepare the soil, so we can have a healthy and bountiful produce.
The soil is prepared by the following methods
Ploughing is the process of loosening and turning the soil. Its also known as tilling. Ploughing of soil is important for the following reasons
- Allows roots of the plants to penetrate deeply into the soil. This firmly roots the plant.
- Loose soil also provides better aeration to the roots allowing them to breathe easily.
- It assists the growth of microbes and worms, which perform decomposing and add nutrients and humus to the soil
- Ploughing also removes weeds and other waste materials from the field.
- It brings nutrient-rich soil to the top, which helps in the growth of plants
The tools we use for ploughing are:
- Plough: This is the most ancient tool used for ploughing. A plough may be made of wood or a metal such as iron. It has a blade or sticks attached to the front that is used to cut through the soil. Ploughs are traditionally drawn by cattle such as ox or cows, but in modern times tractors are used. Ploughs till the soil, add manure and fertilizers and scrapes the soil.
- Hoe: A hoe is also an ancient agricultural tool. We use it to till the land, remove weeds and dig up soil. They generally have a long wooden rod with a bent iron plate at one end. The other end may be attached to an animal. Hoe was used for tilling in olden times, but these days are only used to remove weeds.
- Cultivator: This is the modern mechanism we use currently to plough our farms. It involves the use of a tractor to drive the cultivator. They dig up and pulverize the soil. Cultivators also kill weeds and dig up unwanted vegetation. Cultivator may be more expensive than the traditional methods, but it saves a lot of time and labour force.
Once the field is ploughed, the topsoil is quite loose. There is a strong possibility that strong winds or rain will wash away the topsoil. The soil then needs to be levelled again to ensure its strong foundation. This levelling of soil is done with an implement called the leveller, which is a heavy wooden or iron plank. Levelling of the field also helps in uniform distribution of water during irrigation. This is the final step of soil preparation.
To increase the fertility of the soil, we add manure to the soil even before we begin sowing the seeds. We add the manure before we plough the field, so it gets properly incorporated into the soil.
Learn more about Manure and Fertilizers here in detail.
Sowing of Seeds
This is the second step in crop production. Once the soil preparation is done, it is now time to sow the seeds. Sowing is the actual process of planting the seeds in the soil. The seeds that are sown have to be selected very carefully and have to of high quality.
Methods of sowing seeds
The various methods of sowing the seeds are
- Sowing by hand: The scattering of seeds by hand is the simplest method of sowing seeds. This method is also called broadcasting. This is the most economical method that can be employed. However the distribution of seeds is not uniform, it may result in clusters of seeds on the field.
- Seed Drill: This is a modern method of sowing seeds. It is better and more efficient method than sowing by hand. It is usually done by attaching iron drills to a tractor. Seed drills ensure that the seeds are planted at equal intervals and at the correct depth in the soil.
Precautions to be taken while sowing seeds
Sowing seeds is essentially the most important part of crop production. It is necessary to focus on even the smallest details. The following precautions should be taken when sowing seeds,
- Seeds must be planted at the correct distance or intervals from each other. This is to ensure that all plants get their fair share of light, water and nutrients for growth and development. Planting seeds at equidistance have been proved to increase the yield of the farm.
- Seeds must be sown at the correct depth in the soil. If seeds are simply scattered on the top they are likely to be blown away or eaten by animals or birds. If we sow them too deep into the ground, they will not germinate due to lack of air.
- The seeds that you sow should be of the highest quality. They have to germ and disease free.
Learn more about Protection and Harvesting of Crops here.
Solved Example for You
Q: Which among the following tools saves labour and time?
- All of the above
Solution: The correct answer is option “b”. A cultivator is a type of farm equipment used for secondary tillage. Nowadays, ploughing is done by a tractor driven cultivator which saves time and labour.
FAQ’s for You
Q1. Write a short note on
A. Seed Sowing
Answer: A. Sowing of seeds: One of the important parts of crop production is sowing. Good quality seeds are selected and are sown in prepared soil with the help of various tools like traditional tools and seed drill.
Tradition tools: The shape of this tool is like a funnel which is filled with seeds, then the seeds are passed down through two or three pipes having sharp ends and these ends pierce into the soil and place seeds there.
Seed drill: Nowadays, a traditional tool has been replaced by seed drill. This tool is used for sowing with the help of tractors and it sows the seeds uniformly and at proper distances and depth, it also ensures covering of the seeds from soil after sowing, so that seeds could not get damaged by birds and by other organisms. Sowing by using a seed drill saves times and labour.
B. Threshing: In the harvested crops, the grain seeds are separated from the chaff, this process is called as threshing, this is carried out with the help of the machine called as a ‘combine’ which works as harvester and thresher both.
Q2. Arrange the following steps of preparation of soil in correct order.
a) Ploughing is the loosening of soil using a plough to improve its aeration before sowing the seeds.
b) Land leveling is making the land surface plain. It increases the water holding ability of soil resulting in better yield.
c) Sowing is planting the crops in soil. This is the last step.
Q3. What are the advantages of ploughing?
Answer: A plough is a tool or farm implement used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting to loosen or turn the soil. Ploughs were traditionally drawn by working animals such as oxen and horses, but in modern times are mostly drawn by tractors. The process of loosening the soil for cultivation is called ploughing. The primary purpose of ploughing is to turn over the upper layer of the soil, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface, while burying weeds and the remains of previous crops and allowing them to break down. The advantages of ploughing are:
Loosening of soil can improve air circulation.
The roots can penetrate deeper into the soil, thus holding the plant firmly.
Ploughing enhances the water retention capacity of the soil.
Ploughing uproots the weeds growing in the field and aids in the growth of microbes.
Q4. List the steps involved in soil preparation.
Answer: Preparation of the soil is the first step before the growing of the crop. It helps to turn the soil and loosen it to allow the roots to penetrate deep into it. The loosening of the soil helps in the growth of several soil microbes, earthworms, etc.,
which enrich the soil with humus and other essential nutrients. The three steps involved in soil preparation are: